Texas at San Diego


    Rangers 6, Padres 2


    PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) - Yu Darvish flashed a sizable assortment of pitches, a huge smile and even some nice leather in his debut for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

    What he didn't show was any nerves.

    "I've thrown in so many games, you know?" he said through a translator.

    Sure has. The 25-year-old right-hander was a dominant pitcher for seven years in Japan before the Rangers spent more than $107 million to acquire him this winter.

    Darvish struck out three in two scoreless innings and made a run-saving play in the Rangers' 6-2 win over a split squad of San Diego Padres. The highly anticipated debut at Peoria Sports Complex was chronicled by more than 150 reporters, most of them from Japan.

    "I was really looking forward to pitching today," Darvish said.

    The 6-foot-5 right-hander with the shaggy, orange-tinted hair and a dark goatee whose stated goal is to become the world's best pitcher threw exclusively out of the stretch, something he had cleared with pitching coach Mike Maddux beforehand.

    Twenty-six of his 36 pitches were strikes and he allowed two hits, both doubles, including one by Will Venable off the center-field wall leading off the second inning.

    "He was lucky that it didn't go out," Venable said, because that ball's a home run to every part of the park except straightaway center.

    Darvish struck out his first batter, Cameron Maybin, looking, and his last, John Baker, swinging. He also made two nice defensive plays, one of them covering the bag when first baseman Michael Young dived to rob Mark Kotsay of a base hit.

    "He got over pretty quick. He's definitely a little more athletic than some of the Japanese pitchers that we've seen come over here," Maybin said.

    Then, came his really big defensive play.

    With Venable racing in from third with the apparent first run of the game, Darvish reached high to snare James Darnell's high hopper.

    Venable froze as Darvish fired to catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who chased Venable back down the line a few steps before tagging him out.

    "Yeah, he's really tall," Young said. "I don't think we have many guys who can make that play. So, it's nice to have a guy who's really big and athletic and knows how to field his position really well. ... Another big plus."

    Young jammed his left thumb making the play and left the game but said afterward he was fine.

    Darvish said he was happy to finally face big league hitters and was especially pleased with his four-seam fastball that popped the mitt at 95 mph and also his sharp slider.

    Yet, he seemed thrilled most of all by his defense.

    "Yes, I was kind of waiting for that question if anyone was going to ask me about my fielding today," he said through an interpreter. "But we've been working on that and I thought it went well. I was happy with that."

    Torrealba said he called for fastballs, curves, sliders, cutters, changeups and splitters, and Darvish threw them all with really good command. When Darvish saw that home plate umpire Doug Eddings was calling the high strike, he felt as comfortable going upstairs with heaters as he did spinning offspeed pitches down low in the strike zone.

    "He had good stuff, great poise," Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson said. "... Seven different pitches. It's hard enough to throw one pitch in the big leagues, man."

    Hudson said he's an intrigued as everyone else about Darvish's ability to transfer his success from Japan to the majors.

    "He had a good run at the (World Baseball Classic) a couple of years ago, but I can't say he'll live up to the hype. As far as stats and looking at what he's done, yeah. But coming from the pressure from Japan, coming from the states and pressure from the writers, ESPN, that's a lot to live up to," Hudson said.

    "Every start, eyes on him. You give up one home run, it's going to be like, `What's going on?' The first time he goes three innings, it'll be like, `What happened?' That's a lot of pressure. I can't say he's going to live up to it. Does he have the potential to live up to it? Oh yeah, definitely. We saw some of that today but he's got a lot to deal with."

    Darvish had a 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA in 167 games in the past seven seasons in Japan, where he was a two-time MVP of the Pacific League and a five-time All-Star.

    There will be huge expectations given he signed a $56 million, six-year contract and the Rangers paid his Japanese club $51.7 million just to have the chance to acquire him.

    Texas President and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has called Darvish a unique talent who clearly has the potential to be a No. 1 starter in the majors. But the Rangers aren't yet putting that kind of expectation on him even with their huge financial investment.

    They're going to take things slowly.

    But so far, so good.

    "I asked him before the game if he was nervous and he said no," Torrealba said. "He looked good out there. He looked like he was pumped to go out there, I saw confidence. When Venable hit a double, he knew right away. It was a fastball, we tried to go inside. He left it right in the middle and he told me right away.

    Nerves or not, Rangers manager Ron Washington was glad the hoopla of Darvish's debut was finally over.

    "I'm happy for him that he got it out of his system, and now he realizes that it's baseball, that's all it is. He did a great job," Washington said.

    Darvish shook off Torrealba a couple of times but mostly trusted his veteran catcher to call the game.

    "Communication was good. I basically talked to him before the game and he basically said whatever I put down he's going to throw it and he wanted to use all his pitches," Torrealba said.

    They all worked well.

    "I only saw three. I saw fastball, change ball and a slider, I think. But they all had good action on them," Maybin said.

    Venable saw five of Darvish's different pitches and was equally impressed.

    "He left the fastball over the plate, but good stuff," Venable said. "I knew he was going to be good. There's a buzz for a reason. He met all the expectations that I thought he might."

    Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
    CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Related Video

    Texas Rangers
    Ian Kinsler, 2B3000000 .375
        Yangervis Solarte, 2B2000001 .333
    David Murphy, RF3010010 .375
        Kyle Hudson, RF1000010 .333
    Josh Hamilton, LF3000011 .250
        Engel Beltre, LF1000000 .250
    Adrian Beltre, 3B3110001 .500
        Brandon Snyder, 3B1000000 .500
    Michael Young, 1B2110000 .143
        Mike Olt, 1B2000010 .286
    Mike Napoli, DH1110200 .400
        Dusty Brown, PR-DH1100010 .000
    Yorvit Torrealba, C4222001 .333
    Alberto Gonzalez, SS3033000 .333
        Greg Miclat, SS1000010 .143
    Craig Gentry, CF3000003 .000
        Leonys Martin, CF1000000 .200
    2B - Alberto Gonzalez (1, Wieland)
    RBI - Yorvit Torrealba 2 (2), Alberto Gonzalez 3 (3)
    2-OUT RBI - Yorvit Torrealba 2 (2), Alberto Gonzalez 3 (3)
    SB - Yorvit Torrealba (1, 3rd base off Street/Davis)
    Team LOB - 4
    Texas Rangers
    Yu Darvish 2200030 0.00
    Greg Reynolds (W,1-0) 2000010 0.00
    Ben Snyder (H,2) 1000010 0.00
    Sean Green (H,1) 1000010 0.00
    Roman Mendez (H,1) 1000020 0.00
    Miguel De Los Santos 2322240 6.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Yu Darvish 36-26, Greg Reynolds 23-14, Ben Snyder 11-6, Sean Green 14-8, Roman Mendez 10-8, Miguel De Los Santos 34-23
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yu Darvish 2-1, Greg Reynolds 4-1, Ben Snyder 2-0, Sean Green 2-0, Miguel De Los Santos 2-0
    Batters Faced - Yu Darvish 8, Greg Reynolds 6, Ben Snyder 3, Sean Green 3, Roman Mendez 3, Miguel De Los Santos 11
    San Diego Padres
    Cameron Maybin, CF3000030 .000
        Blake Tekotte, CF1012000 .500
    Orlando Hudson, 2B3010000 .167
        Jonathan Galvez, 2B1000011 .600
    Jesus Guzman, 1B4010011 .100
    Carlos Quentin, LF2000011 .500
        Rymer Liriano, RF2000011 .400
    Will Venable, RF-LF3010110 .222
    Mark Kotsay, DH2000001 .000
       a- Brian Guinn, PH-DH1000000 .000
       b- Ali Solis, PH-DH1000012 .000
    James Darnell, 3B2000000 .250
        Edinson Rincon, 3B2110012 .667
    John Baker, C2000021 .000
        Brad Davis, C0000100 .000
    Everth Cabrera, SS3100001 .200
    a-grounded out for Kotsay in the 8th
    b-struck out for Guinn in the 9th
    2B - Orlando Hudson (1, Darvish), Will Venable (1, Darvish), Edinson Rincon (3, De Los Santos)
    3B - Blake Tekotte (1, De Los Santos)
    RBI - Blake Tekotte 2 (2)
    2-OUT RBI - Blake Tekotte 2 (2)
    Team LOB - 5
    DP - Darnell-Hudson-Guzman, Darnell-Hudson-Guzman
    E - Brad Davis (1, Throwing), Jonathan Galvez (1, Dropped fly)
    San Diego Padres
    Jeff Suppan 2100100 0.00
    Joe Wieland (L,0-1) 2644000 18.00
    Alex Hinshaw 1000020 0.00
    Huston Street 1221100 9.00
    Luke Gregerson 1000010 9.00
    Joe Thatcher 1000020 0.00
    Nick Vincent 1000010 0.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 23-16, Joe Wieland 40-27, Alex Hinshaw 14-10, Huston Street 19-13, Luke Gregerson 10-5, Joe Thatcher 20-12, Nick Vincent 10-8
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 3-2, Joe Wieland 3-2, Alex Hinshaw 1-0, Huston Street 1-2, Luke Gregerson 2-0
    Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 7, Joe Wieland 11, Alex Hinshaw 3, Huston Street 6, Luke Gregerson 3, Joe Thatcher 3, Nick Vincent 4
    Game Information
    Attendance - 2910
    Game Time - 2:29
    Temperature - 59
    Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Dan Bellino